Hammers manager David Moyes has had to 'juggle' a team on limited resources consistently throughout his career, with the one obvious exception. He now finds himself having to do a balancing act as well, somehow through luck and good judgment he managed to get his team to a lofty sixth place in the Barclays Premier League.
The rewards for such a stirling performance unfortunately being a bit of a poisoned chalice, his tiny squad have to negotiate a minimum of an extra six very competitive games, some of which are going to be very testing to say the least. The club did back their manager with the funding to bring in most of his transfer targets, but it should be remembered that his 'shopping list' had been drawn up under the auspices of a financial crisis and was therefore tempered down enormously from what it would have been pre Covid.
Realistically Dinamo Zagreb are the team to fear in the Iron's Europa League group, so getting of to a good start will be essential if Hammers are to make meaningful progress in the competition. Moyes has to play a strong team, but at the same time he has to be mindful of Sunday's league game against top of the league Manchester United and the Ronaldo love fest!
Getting 'gubbed' at home would be profoundly bad for the morale of fans and players alike, so Moyes MUST start Zouma against the Mancs, but will he keep his powder dry by retaining Craig Dawson at the back? By his own admission 'Les' would admit that he has failed to scale the heights that he achieved last season, his performances thus far have been a polar opposite to those previously, which were mostly superb.
Whether time has caught up with Craig, or maybe his lack of pace has been noted by opponents, nobody knows? But he can't complain if he is dropped, it is a question of when and not if, and that when will need to be decided by a manager who will be caught between a rock and a hard place as he 'massages' his team selections. - Ed